This season is shaping out to be a real heart ripper. One moment the Cowboys look like they have a win wrapped up with a big red bow, only to somehow manage to snatch defeat out of the jaws of victory. For some reason I keep going back to that old saying, "What doesn't kill you, only makes you stronger." This team is used to being praised and lifted up on a pedestal. They've been paper champions nearly every off season with nothing to show for it but a lone playoff win. I feel last years collapse has knocked them down a peg or two which is good. This team is not a great team. And what aggravates me the most is that they should be. They have all this talent in the world and still manage to be mediocre. I thought a coaching change would fix some of the problems and it has to some degree. I've been seeing a lot of inspired football lately. But inspired football doesn't seem to winning games. This team needs to do more than that. It needs to get a killer instinct and deliver the knockout blow. It also needs to find out who it wants to be. Does this year's version of the Dallas Cowboys want to just get in the playoffs? Or does it want to win a championship? Or does it just want to somewhat competitive? I really don't know. And that's problem here folks. This team is in an identity crisis right now. And it needs to figure it out what it wants to be soon, or it will be finding itself watching other teams in the playoffs courtesy of their living room couch.
So let's start finding an identity and that punch versus the St. Louis Rams on Sunday at Cowboys Stadium. For some reason wins are hard to come by at home. I think it's maybe due to the fact that the fans there seem to act like they're at the opera instead of a football game. It's hard for the home team to get fired up when the fans are just sitting on their hands. If I had the money and the chance to see a home game I'd be yelling at the top of my lungs until the game was over. It's really sad that the loudest I've heard Cowboys fans was in San Francisco in their stadium. And we better not take this Rams game lightly because if we do we could end up losing a game we have no business losing. At this moment I don't care if it's a blowout, or a win by a last second saftey in the endzone. A win is a win in the NFL, and they are always hard to come by. There are no easy wins. Especially when other teams play us because it seems like it's their Super Bowl.
We also need to find our way into the end zone. Getting to the red zone is as easy as pie for this team, but when we get there it's darn near impossible to get the ball across the goal line. Which makes zero sense if you have two quality wide receivers in Miles Austin and Dez Bryant. We are almost dead last in red zone percentage. The only teams worse than us are the winless Rams. Wow. that sucks. Our offense is chewing up yards like a runaway lawnmower but it's sputtering where it counts the most. If this offense can figure out how to get the ball in the endzone this team could be a force to be reckoned with. The offensive line isn't helping matters that much either. On a lot of drives the line just cannot get any push. I blame the stupid lockout for that. Because if this young line had a full off season with Mike Woicik they'd be looking a lot better than they are right now. But the line seems to be doing well in pass protection, but the run blocking isn't looking too hot lately. But part of that isn't totally the lines' fault. I've seen big holes that have been flat out ignored by the running backs. That's why I like Demarco Murray. In the limited action i've seen him play he's been finding the right holes and getting tough yards. Things that Felix and Tashard just haven't been able to do consistently. The goal line rushing package needs to change. Instead of running the ball up the middle twice with terrible results, run it outside a couple times. And as for the passing game in the red zone, fades to Dez and Miles all day. Being predictable is one thing, but being stupid is another(I.E. shuffle pass on 3rd and 18)
Take the shackles off Tony Romo, this offense runs through his arm. The common misconception that he's solely responsible for this team's losses is bogus. Let him loose. I want to see more bootleg packages. Romo is deadly on the run. Now that he has become of pretty good pocket passer, kill defenses with both sides of his coin. Use his strengths to your advantage. When Jason Garrett took the reins off Romo against New England the offense came to life. Yes he will throw a pick every now and then, but did you see Bill Belichick put the chains on Brady after he threw two picks? No. Bottom line is stop overreacting and let Romo be who he is. He is not and never will be a bus driver. If you take away the gunslinger you lose the very thing that won games for this team in the first place. It's Romo's ability to make something out of nothing that makes him tick. I mean how sad is it that coach Garrett didn't even give Romo a chance to get a first down with two minutes left to go against the Patriots? I understand the Defense had been playing balls out crazy for 58 minutes, but did you really expect them to stop Tom Brady? At least give your QB a chance for chrissakes. I'm not saying let Romo play with reckless abandon, but at least give him a shot to win a game for you. I understand he's thrown some picks at bad times, but so has every other QB in the NFL. Our head coach and this team needs to stop listening to the talking heads and get pissed and learn how to rip teams' throats out instead of playing up to their level. It all comes down to confidence in your team's ability, and right now I don't know if the coach has very much, and that's perfectly understandable because he still doesn't know who this team really is. If JG and Co. can somehow manage to figure things out we have a shot to do some serious damage. But what it all comes down to is if this team can execute the game plan for the full 60 minutes. If they can figure out how to do that, the sky's the limit.
The next upcoming weeks will determine if this team will rise to the occasion or fall back to the depths of mediocrity. A win against St Louis. would be a nice start. I truly feel that this team can be something special. It just has to start getting out it's own way first. So make a choice 2011 Dallas Cowboys and make sure it's the right one. Don't shuffle away the season just yet. Give it your best shot.
RISE OR FALL